Please write an essay describing how Oedipus, as a tragic hero, might also qualify as an epic hero (remember our lecture about what makes an epic hero?). How is his character (who he is as a person), his place in society, and his life experience similar? How is it different? You can use Odysseus, a Greek epic hero, and Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian epic hero, to make comparisons and note contrasts. In particular, explain how epics like Odyssey and Gilgamesh compare in style and purpose to Oedipus, a tragedy. Also explay why you think Sophocles might want Oedipus to be a “similar type of guy” to a beloved Greek role model like Odysseus. Does Oedipus present a good example of arete (ancient Greek virtue), as Odysseus does? How might the similarities (and differences) reinforce the purpose of the play? What is the major lesson Sophocles presents in the play (Hint: the play was written for a religious festival)? How might a hero with Oedipus’ credentials present an indelible opportunity to drive home certain moral and religious points? How and why are these points delivered differently than or similarly to the heroes in Odyssey and Gilgamesh?
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